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Why Is 7 Years An Important Age For Asperger's Diagnosis Please?

aspergers diagnosis CAMHS

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#1 maisiemoon


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Posted 02 February 2012 - 06:45 AM

Hi Folks,

My son was privately diagnosed with Aspergers a couple of weeks ago. I knew it would hold no clout with the LEA or even the NHS - although I know they will use the private report to aid in their assessment of my son. I did it for peace of mind as we have had an awful time with my son's last school, ignoring his social and emotional issues and basically saying it is all due to ' interactions at home.'

As we thought when we received his diagnosis it really came as no surprise ( There is autism on both sides of the family and my uncle is thought to have has AS but not formally diagnosed and my son and him are VERY similar.., even in looks!)and although tinged with sadness it was a relief to have it formally recognised .

CAMHS came around on Tuesday to see if they are going to accept my son's referral from his paed. ( He was referred last year ( July!) but there was some mix up and they have only just got round to seeing if they will even accept this referral - I thought we were already a few months down the 12-18 months waiting list.)

Chatting to the psychologist from CAMHS she was saying often they don't diagnose Asperger's until, the age of 7 - although they have done if they feel it is appropriate. She mentioned Tony Attwood has spoken extensively about this....but I can't find that information!

I would really like to find out as to why '7' is such an important age for Asperger's diagnosis. Is it because it can often go undetected but around age 7 the differences between an AS child and their peers becomes more apparent? Or is there something else? I am desperate to find out because I really don't want to be told that we have to wait until my son is 7 to even be considered for assessment by the NHSPosted Image ( Even though his paed is sure he is on the autistic spectrum but high functioning... he has not been formally diagnosed.) We have been fighting for nearly 3 years already to have our concerns taken seriously. I know people have been fighting alot longer, but if I could do something to change the system for other families so they don't have to be igored, belittled and refused support i would do it in the blink of an eye.

Any advice appreciated.

Beth x
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#2 nomatterwhat



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Posted 02 February 2012 - 07:08 AM

Hi there Beth.I know its hard and many of us have known for a long time that our littluns were struggling.it can all take a really long time ,but,big but I'm afraid......you need to try and not get hung up on the diagnosis ,of course keep pushing and doing everything you can ,but even with a Dx you will meet the same problems.
Is your son getting any support at school?if you can log everything that's happening at school,and if their not supporting you contact parent partnership,or the Ed psychs and express yor concerns,try and get him seen.we probably need to know more about your son and his difficulties to help.
How old is he?

I don't know why 7 is special,but I can see that around that age things get more obvious,my eldest is 9 and just Dx,but my littlun is 5 and I know he's autistic too ,but actually I can see that a proccess has to kinda happen before issues become apparent,of course I will expect a diagnosis for him one day but I'm not focusing only on that.my aim at the mo with him is to really try and get his teachers to see the ways he struggles and how he's dealing with things differently to other kids.I also hold nothing back about how hard is at home.I have also taken quite a lot of footage and photos of velcros behavior as I am trying to build a lot of evidence of his problems.
If you can contact someone from cahms or community paeds you might be able to get yourself on a early bird course or asd parenting courses they are worth going too I think.

Sorry just read older posts I see you have been doing a lot.

Tell me a bit more about how he's doing at school?has he started yet?if you don't mind of course!!

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 07:30 AM

Typically, the children were first referred in middle childhood (mean age 8 years). The children were described with several diagnostic labels, most commonly 'contact and instinct disorder', i.e. a combination of low social competence and a lack of instinctive knowledge about how to solve everyday problems or how to behave appropriately in a variety of situations. The most dominant behavioural difficulty of the children consisted of lack of integration into the peer group. The children seemed to others to be isolated and were often ignored, bullied or disliked by their classmates. The ability to concentrate on schoolwork was usually poor, and disciplinary problems and conduct disorder were seen in half of the children of the sample. Usually, typical pedagogical measures proved to have no effect on the child's behaviour, but rather made it worse. Over 80% of the children had special interests, most of which consisted of a fascination for certain animals and aspects of nature or were of a technical kind.

Source:- http://www.tonyattwo...ical&Itemid=201

Peter Szatmari has suggested that those children with autism who develop functional language in early childhood eventually join the developmental trajectory and have a profile of abilities typical of a child with Asperger's syndrome (Szatmari 2000). At one point in a child's early development, autism is the correct diagnosis, but a distinct subgroup of children with autism can show a remarkable improvement in language, play and motivation to socialize with their peers between the ages of four and six years. The developmental trajectory for such children has changed and their profile of abilities in the primary or elementary school years is consistent with the characteristics of Asperger's syndrome (Attwood 1998; Dissanayake 2004; Gillberg 1998; Wing 1981). These children, who may subsequently be diagnosed as having High Functioning Autism or Asperger's syndrome, will benefit from the strategies and services designed for children with Asperger's syndrome rather than autism.



What Behavior is due to Aspergers?

I asked Dr. Tony Attwood how to tell if a child’s particular behaviour is due to Aspergers or something else. He said:

“It is a very important question because what you often try to disentangle is what is Asperger’s and what’s typical adolescence or typical seven-year-old’s conflict resolution (of “an eye for an eye.”) It really requires expertise to disentangle the two. Certainly having Asperger’s is not an excuse to get away with things and there needs to be appropriate consequences. But the difference with Asperger’s is you’re going to have to spend more time explaining why. And logic is what they’re going to need in what to do or a script of what’s required. But it means if the child has double issues, one of the typical issues that you’d expect of that age, but the other is due to the social confusion, different learning styles, all those sorts of things, that makes life even more of a challenge for them.

Source:- http://parentingaspe...rgers-syndrome/

Hope it helps xxx

#4 hel


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Posted 02 February 2012 - 08:15 AM

I must admit at around 7 years of age the difference between my son and his peers became much more obvious. His peers would no longer accept his controlling games and he began to notice that he was different and isolated. He was diagnosed at 8, apparently it was vey obvious as he was diagnosed almost straight away. I think particularly in boys, they have a hormone surge around that age which shows up more of a difference between ASD children who until that time just seem quirky. It's almost as if children with Aspergers miss that stage. I did also notice that bullying got a lot worse at 7/8 years of age as well.

This is my own opinion btw, I may be completely wrong!

#5 CarerQuie


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Posted 02 February 2012 - 08:25 AM

Our local CAMHS have said that there is a natural change in the thinking at the age of 7. They say that it is therefore a time when they can be surer of diagnosing accutately. (In our area, autism and aspergers are assessed by different teams so the clinicians refer accordingly-autism being assessed at a younger age.generally).xx

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 09:30 AM

LLeigh was assessed and diagnosed at 7, she already had the Dyspraxia diagnosis, and recognised attention difficulties but the time there was not much difference between the way her and her peers interacted, (still played alongside rather than with each other, the ability to share thoughts and ideas etc). between the age of 5 and 7 the friendship dynamics changed, and at 7 the differences, and her confusion really started showing. Aspergers children seem to hit a brick wall whereas other children pass through relatively easily.

Now she is 8, her ASD is really quite evident.

I guess she was a text book case.

#7 Léo's mum

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 09:48 AM

My son Paul was diagnosed with Asperger's at 5 1/2 but I think that the fact that he has a brother with ASD contributed to the early diagnosis, that and the fact that the consultant is fantastic and took iour concerns very seriously.
I think that around 7 is when the difference becomes more apparent for most AS kids. For our Paul it was apparent before that.
Good luck,


#8 maisiemoon


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Posted 02 February 2012 - 10:25 AM

Thank you so much for your replies, advice and links - i really appreciate it so much:)

My son will be 5 in April. He started full time in reception last september and lasted 4 days till i took him out.... severe anxiety to the point of being totally nonverbal, urinary inconinent, vomiting, night terrors. He went back on a part time timetable and did a little better but was still having huge meltdowns straight after school and weekends as all the stress built up and came out at home.

Ed psych did one obs and listened to the NQT ( with no asd training) and the senco- who was as much use as a chocolate teapot and decided my son was ' fine' depsite not interacting with peers, school anxiety and refusal some days, massive sensory issues... the fact that his reading age is at least 4 years aboce his chronological age, his lack of greetings, his fear of his peers, his formal and advanced language etc ect you get the picture! Specialist ASD SALT went in to do obs ( ( school already told me that she would just sign him off- depsite not having a clue!! grrr!) and said he had very pedantic, literal language and spoke ' haltingly' and that he did not interact well with his peers.

He is now on melatonin as his sleep had got to under 2 hours a night ( not in 1 stretch!) and the whole family was at breaking point. And the paed prescribed it and i am so glad we did as he is so excited and says ' mummy i slept all the way through the night!'

I was so fed up with the school- found another one that has experience of working with kids on the spectrum. My son has settled unbelievably well and I am so grateful for the wonderul work his teachers are doing with him as his self esteem has increased so much, he has had only 1 meltdown after school ( and that was when they sprung PE on him unexpectedly!) The teachers think he is very intelligent and a 'little star' and have also helped him deal with his often severe sensory issues.

The ped has also referred to CAMHS for some social support...waiting to hear.

I tootally understand I don't need a diagnosis- epsecially when he is performing so well at school. I think it is because his last ed pscy, teacher and senco basically called me neurotic, any problems were my own parenting and I hit a real low point- I even started believing it and became quite depressed:( I suppose i want a formal NHS diagnosis so that he can receive all the help he can get ( some services he cannot access without a diagnosis- early intervention is the key etc etc but without a diagnosis some of those things are off limits... so much for ealry intervention!) and to prove the last set of numpties at his last school, who basically bullied me in many ways ( including ed psych throwing at me ' I have a doctorate degree in child psychology' when I dared to disagree with her that they were so wrong and denied my son the help he needed... I blame them for my son being such a wreck for nearly 6 months of his life because they refused to listen to me :( I held my boy when he was in such distess he could not speak or function ... but they led me to belive this was ' my fault ' my interactions' or i was ' neurotic.'

Ack, sorry i don't sem capaable of short posts and it all comes pouring out! Thanks again evryone , I really appreciate all your input:0

Beth x

Edited by maisiemoon, 02 February 2012 - 10:26 AM.

#9 Deena


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Posted 02 February 2012 - 12:47 PM


My daughter is 7 and is currently being speeded through the dx process. In our area there is no aspergers dx it is all dx as ASD (I have asked.) I have to be honest and say with hindsight I have always noticed my daughters quirks but it and the behavioural issues seem to have escalated and taken on a life of their own since she turned 7. She is also very willing now to tell us how no one plays with her and she is alone at school etc, whereas before she just got on with

Although I have no formal dx as yet, I have already began adjusting my parenting techniques and approach to how I support my daughter to encompass the idea that she has ASD and I can honestly say it has already made a world of difference to how she behaves and copes.

Oh and one more thing... if someone tells you they have a doctorate in psychology, ask them if they have the 5 years experience of dealing with a child with additional needs 24/7 like you do? :)

#10 Eggman


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Posted 02 February 2012 - 02:30 PM

James was diagnosed when he was 7.

He changed quite dramatically from when he first entered the system at 3 years of age. At that time he presented with severe autism and his hyperactivity was such that he was out of control.

By 7 he was a completely different child although still obviously autistic.

Maybe just having one diagnostic criteria would mean a diagnosis earlier. I think they were reluctant to diagnose at the time as they wanted to wait until he had developed more and could give a clearer idea of where he was on the spectrum.

Even so by the time we got our diagnosis our area started to give out diagnosis of just Autism anyway. We have been told his is HF now though.

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